Putin, Barroso clash over energy rules
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, and José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, have clashed publicly over EU legislation that limits ownership of pipelines by energy producers.
In a press conference after a meeting of the Russian government and the Commission, Putin described the effects of the EU legislation as “property confiscation” and warned that it would lead to higher energy prices.
Putin described current world oil prices, which have hit record highs, as a “serious threat to economic growth”. He said that even though Russia was a major energy producer, it saw high energy prices as a threat to other sectors of its economy.
Russia is the main supplier of natural gas to the EU and is in the process of building two new pipelines, Nord Stream and South Stream.
Putin also highlighted his country’s role as a reliable source of energy at a time when uprisings in north Africa are threatening energy supplies to Europe.
Barroso said that the rules of the EU’s ‘third energy package’ applied to anyone doing business with the EU and were therefore non-discriminatory.
Both men stressed that a compromise would be found because it was in the interests of both sides. But Putin also referred to the “superiority of our position,” saying “it is in the long-term interest of our European partners that supplies are stable”.
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